Rocky Mount, N.C.-The city of Rocky Mount has always strived to be good stewards of your tax dollars in response to the needs of citizens, and that is why our vision is to be transparent as public service professionals. In that spirit of transparency, here are a few things we would like to share with you.
First, questions have been asked regarding the city’s use of general funds for the construction of eight housing units at MS Hayworth Court. The city of Rocky Mount entered into an agreement with the Southeastern North Carolina Community Development Corporation, Inc. on June 5, 2017 to commit $182,453.65 in HOME Investment Partnership Funds for subsidizing the construction of MS Hayworth Court. However, the MS Hayworth project began without following the required procedures for accessing HOME funds because the previous community development staff did not follow HUD procedures. Since HOME funds cannot be committed to the MS Hayworth project, council was informed of the situation, and a general fund request was necessary to fulfill the city’s commitment. The new Community and Business Development Department created by City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney was not established until Jan. 2018, subsequent to the misstep regarding HUD funds.
Second, we have received inquiries on department head residency requirements and funds provided to them during their transition to Rocky Mount. All employees who live out of town are provided assistance to make the transition from where they are currently living to Rocky Mount. These expenses are provided for a variety of items to help with the transition, such as travel, hotel accommodations, moving expenses, housing and more. Employees are generally given six months to one year to find housing within the city limits; however, it is to the manager’s discretion to provide additional time if needed. In the past, some department directors did not live in the city, and currently, there are still some department heads who do not reside in the city of Rocky Mount for a variety of reasons.
Additionally, the improvements being done to the city manager’s office suite are the result of mold in the ceiling tiles, leakage from the roof and the HVAC, wallpaper coming down and other issues that arise in any facility. Improvements to the city manager’s suite is just one of many that are 2 needed in City Hall and in other city facilities. These projects are being done in a phased approach and should be completed in two years. Finally, many have been concerned about our police chief search, and rightfully so since this is one of the most important positions within any community. At the onset of this search, we stressed the importance of hiring a superb executive search firm and engaging the community in the selection process. We created a comprehensive assessment and evaluation that included a variety of exercises to determine the capability and performance predictability of each candidate. The assessors were volunteer community leaders, police chiefs and other administrators. There are no recommendations that come from the assessment panels, just total scores and comments on each candidate.
This multi-faceted approach also started with community meetings to gain citizen insight on the values of a police chief and more. There was also a one-on-one interview with the city manager. An appointment did not emerge from this process.
The city of Rocky Mount is committed to finding the best police chief and the best employees to nurture a growing city. We will continue to be transparent and to work with our community in establishing a more perfect union and a Rocky Mount we all envision.
Rocky Mount’s Communications & Marketing team